Scrambling for Certainty

The Human Predicament

“As human beings we share a tendency to scramble for certainty whenever we realize that everything around us is in flux. In difficult times the stress of trying to find solid ground—something predictable to stand on—seems to intensify. But in truth, the very nature of our existence is forever in flux. Everything keeps changing, whether we’re aware of it or not.

What a predicament! We seem doomed to suffer simply because we have a deep-seated fear of how things really are. Our attempts to find lasting pleasure, lasting security, are at odds with the fact that we’re part of a dynamic system in which everything and everyone is in process.

So this is where we find ourselves: right in the middle of a dilemma. And it leaves us with some provocative questions: How can we live wholeheartedly in the face of impermanence, knowing that one day we’re going to die? What is it like to realize we can never completely and finally get it all together? Is it possible to increase our tolerance for instability and change? How can we make friends with unpredictability and uncertainty— and embrace them as vehicles to transform our lives?”  Pema Chodron

Pema has a gift and a skill of putting into a few paragraphs what I might take a few pages to talk about.

We will never arrive someplace where we can rest undisturbed for the rest of our days.

While we are still breathing we will be interrupted, disturbed, happy, sad, in pain, pain free, scared, uncertain, in love, out of love, rich, poor, healthy, unhealthy. Or at least we will have moments of all those things. We just don’t want to define ourselves by any one particular state.

I believe that we are all doing our best, with what we know. We fall down, we get up. We start again. We notice. We pay attention and sometimes we don’t. We are our perfectly imperfect selves. And it helps when we clearly distinguish between the things that we don’t have direct control over by our will and the things that we can control and influence. (like our own actions) And it is the latter where we can best invest our precious energy.

I have experienced that none of us is alone. Life/friends/family/strangers/medical professional’s/ and more, keep supporting us at every turn, even if we don’t notice. This doesn’t mean life becomes easy but it does mean that it is doable.

We all can have moments of joy, learning, laughter, friendship and a sense of purpose.May this be true for you.


Note 1:) The banner Photo is taken in Salmon Arm, BC, by Gottfried and the Valentines collage was created by my friend, Patrica. Thanks to you both!

Note 2:) I hope you are all well and managing to find creative and fun things to learn and to do this winter.

Note 3:) It is always a joy for me to show up here and meet you each week.  If you have questions or suggestions or just want to say hi, please feel free to drop me a note at I love hearing from you. Warmest wishes, Trudy

3 replies
  1. Judy Bernstein
    Judy Bernstein says:

    This is perfect, Trudy. I need to hang it somewhere where I can see it every day. I am always looking for the time ai “get it together”, figure everything out, and then can live in perpetual peace.
    I can hear my mom’s voice saying, you will have an eternity of that! 💕💕💕💕

  2. Jean
    Jean says:

    Dear Trudy,guilty for sure and pema does say it for me to gift of the golden years and illness one almost has to accept change and an ever changing day to have serenity gratitude and contentment.happy to say yes,I am learning. Stay safe and warm.

  3. janice
    janice says:

    Ah the challenge of impermanence and uncertainty – thank you for sharing Pema’s wise words as well as your own Trudy. Wishing you much joy, learning, laughter, friendship (!) and sense of purpose. love you. Jan


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